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Father, three sons killed by drunken driver, St. Petersburg police say

ST. PETERSBURG — Demetrius Jordan can't take back what happened at 12:46 a.m. Sunday.

That is when police say the drunken 20-year-old sped through a red light at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and 22nd Avenue N in his Chevrolet Impala and struck a Ford Fusion.

The crash left three women widowed, two children fatherless and a dad burdened with sorrow he cannot shake.

Behind the wheel of the Ford was Orlando accountant Elroy McConnell, 51. The passengers were his three adult sons: Elroy McConnell III, 28, of Pineville, La.; Nathan McConnell, 24, of Orlando; and Kelly McConnell, 19, of Orlando.

All four died at the scene.

The men were on their way back from a guys' movie night to a house the family rented in Redington Beach for the weekend.

Waiting there were Elroy McConnell's wife, Amy Voelker, and the rest of the McConnell family.

Elroy III was married and had a 4-month-old son, Elroy McConnell IV. Nathan, an electrician, was married with a 2-year-old daughter. Kelly had just finished his freshman year at the University of Miami.

Jordan, who survived with moderate injuries, has been charged with four counts of manslaughter while driving under the influence. Jordan's father, Homer Jordan, said Sunday that his son is under watch by police as he recovers at Bayfront Medical Center.

Demetrius Jordan's cousin, Mario Robinson, 20, was in the passenger seat of the Impala and was injured, but is expected to survive, Homer Jordan said.

The crash came days before Demetrius Jordan's driver's license was to be suspended. According to Pinellas County court records, a suspension request was sent to the state Department of Motor Vehicles because of an unpaid fine for running a stop sign in June.

The fine was due July 23 and the request was sent July 26. It had not gone into effect, as state records list Jordan's license as still valid.

The shock of the accident was reverberating Sunday.

"It's just too much to bear," said Tonya Bachand of Orlando, a friend of the McConnell family for 25 years.

Bachand said Elroy McConnell "was an amazing, amazing man — very Christian. They called him Iron Man because of the triathlons he won."

McConnell, originally from Pennsylvania, was a triathlete and chief executive of iCFO, a financial consulting firm.

"Even if his life was snuffed out early, he made a lasting legacy by the people he touched," said Del Wright, regional director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The McConnell boys graduated from University High School and played football, said their aunt, Cheryl McConnell.

Jordan's father was pacing the hallway of Bayfront Medical Center on Sunday night.

"I understand the consequence of the situation —- but I don't understand why we can't see him. A parent should be able to see his child," the father said.

Like the man police say his son killed, the elder Jordan has three sons. He also has a daughter. Their ages range from 15 to 27.

The younger Jordan has been active in his church —- he taught drum lessons to children at Mount Zion Church in St. Petersburg. He was studying at St. Petersburg College, working toward a degree in mortuary sciences.

His father, a former city employee who left his job because of a knee injury, has been diagnosed with cancer.

He bought his son the Impala. The crash, he said, was something he wished he could take back.

"It changed everything. Not just his life, but the lives that were taken. My heart goes out to their family. You can't take that back," he said.

The Orlando Sentinel and Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Dominick Tao at dtao@sptimes.com or (727) 580-2951.

Father, three sons killed by drunken driver, St. Petersburg police say 08/01/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 2, 2010 12:13am]
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